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OCONTO COUNTY
Wisconsin
FAMILIES and BIOGRAPHIES

.Tuffel Truckey Family.
A story about Stiles and Stiles Jct.  From John R Larson

Written and contributed by: John R. Larson


Truckey Family
This picture was taken at Tuff Truckeys funeral in 1934.
Left to right  Earl, Gladys, Isadore, Ruby, Mable, Vetle, Emma, June, Napoleon, Dave, Cleo, Exora, Amos and Dee Nicholson- Exora's husband. 
Photo From John R. Larson

 
 
 

Photo From John R. Larson

My mother told me stories about the Truckeys' family life.  They moved from one lumber camp to another, and lived in tarpaper shacks built by the lumber company that were very hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  They had to take the tools in at night because a porcupine would chew up the handles for the salt from the workers sweat.  At Easter time grandpa would get the family up early to watch the sun dance.  Luckily they didn't lose their eyesight.  My mother would make a small hutch out in the wood from boughs, moss and ground pine.  Her parents would put colored eggs in it and the children would find them in the morning.  Gramma would fry eggs and serve them with maple syrup.  The family kept getting larger one baby at a time.  My mother was the oldest so she had to help her mother take care of the little ones.

 Grandpa could make extra money at the mill on Sunday to saw shingles.  My mother would go with him.  He had to fire up the boiler to make steam to run the saw.  Then he would take a wood block and push it into the saw and cut the shingles.  I saw the operation at a tractor show and it looked so dangerous I couldn't stand to watch.  My mother would count the shingles and bundle them.  They would make ten cents a bundle of one hundred shingles.

 She told me about Grandpa's tapeworm.   The story was too gruesome to repeat.  Grandpa had lice in his hair and washed them out with kerosene. He lost his hair after that.

 One day there was a thunderstorm with lots of hail.  The roofs of the home had gaps in the boards to save lumber.   Hail came though the tarpaper and hit grandpa on the head.  Grandpa became very frightened and herded the family under the large table.  Hail was hitting the pots and pans and sounded like the anvil chorus.  My mother thought it was funny but the others didn't.

 Grandpa had a team of horses and a large wagon.  He would take it to town to get supplies.  It would take him all day.  My mother would use it as a school bus and pick up a bunch of kids on the way to school.  The teacher would be angry with my mother when she was late.  She had to take care of the horses after she dropped off the children at school.  Grandpa would go to the Movie Theater with his wagon and pick up some families on the way. He won a set of dishes for transporting the largest group to the movie.  Grandpa liked lots of shooting.  There had to be at least five getting shot to make it a good movie.
 
Stiles Junction Tavern
Photo From John R. Larson

 Later Grandpa bought a tavern at Stiles Junction.  It had Delco Electric Lights.  When it started getting dark some one would fill the tank with gasoline and give the putt putt engine a crank.  The 38-watt lights would glow in the rooms.  When it ran out of gas it was time to go to bed.

 Grandpa had a bear that he kept in the root cellar out back.  When some customers stopped in for a beer grandpa would take them out and show them the bear.  They would tell others and then they would stop in to see the bear.  Some time a customer would drink a little to much beer and want to go out and wrestle the bear and grandpa would have to talk him out of it.

 Beer came in a glass for five cents or a mug for ten cents.  Grandma said that if you poured from the glass into the mug it was the same amount.  It looked like more and using the mug had prestige.

 They had turkey or target shoots with real guns. Their son Dave would be disqualified because he would always win.

 Grandpa sold gasoline from a pump that he would have to pump himself.  The price was twenty-five cents a gallon or five gallons for a dollar. If some one wanted five gallons he would have to pump that much into the glass dome.  It had lines on it to show the number of gallons.
  

When the spittoon needed cleaning grandpa would drop a fifty cent coin in it and tell one of his sons.  Fifty cents was quite a bit of money in those days but that was how much was needed for the job.


Stiles Junction gas pump
with young Nap and Tuf.
Photo From John R. Larson

Then the tavern burned down and they went out of business.  The Truckeys moved to a small house on the East Side of the highway 141 across from where the tavern was located.

 On September 17, 1934 there was a dance at Stiles Hall. Tuff and Emma would walk on the East Side of Highway 141 to Stiles.  On that night there was a small red headed girl playing near the highway.  She told this story many years later at a class reunion where I was taking the class picture.   She said that when my grandparents came walking by Grandpa said. "Keep away from the highway Red."  Grandpa was walking on the highway of course, grandma was not.  Grandpa was the kind of fellow who said. "Do as I say not as I do."  As they were walking down the Stiles hill two cars were racing traveling side by side down the Stiles hill going south.  Grandpa was watching for cars coming up the hill toward him, not cars coming behind him.  Grandma said that grandpa was hit from behind and flew about 100 feet. When he landed it sounded like breaking crockery.  No charges were filed against the driver because Gramp was on the highway.

I was five years old and remember the trip to Grandpa's funeral quite well. We lived in Duluth Minnesota at the time.  My mother received a telegram about her father's death.  It was decided that my dad would stay home and my mother and I would go.  We left about noon walking to the streetcar and it was quite a warm day.  The train turned out to be a self-powered car.  I looked it up in a book about trains and there were only twenty of them built.  It was quite bumpy, noisy and warm.  There was a water tank in the back and some kids were drinking water out of it using paper cups that looked like small funnels.  I wanted to try it but was afraid.  In the night we got off at a station to change trains.  My mother knew some relatives there and we walked a ways to meet them.  After talking to them she started crying when she found out how grandpa was killed.  The next train took us to Green Bay.  I remember riding on the train to Stiles Junction in the morning.  The train had plush velvet light green seats.  The car must have been new.  I was impressed.

 

This is a photo of Emma and Tuff Truckey with my mother and dad, Mabel and John S. Larson.  Looks like 1928 because I was born in 29 and I am hiding in the picture.
Photo From John R. Larson

 
 
 
 
 

 Grandpa was laid out in his coffin in the bedroom off of the living room.  In those days it was the custom to touch the corpse and I had to do this also.  He felt like cold hard wax.

 During the funeral I stayed with other kids at the Carl Prust farm.  I remember I had to go to the outdoor toilet.  I had never used one before.  I went in and sat down.  It was a two-holer.  One of the girls came in and sat down beside me.  I was so embarrassed I couldn't do anything.  I went out and did it in my pants, which was more embarrassing.

 After the funeral I was taken back to the Junction.  I remember my mother taking pictures and they were saying it was to bad that Earl wasn't there.  No one knew where he was.  Then a freight train stopped at the Junction and Earl came walking in.
 We went back to the Prust farm to sleep.  They fixed up a bed for me  then something bit me. I started swelling up and had a fever.  I remember my mother and Aunt Ruby fussing around me most of the night.  I believe they thought I was going to die.

 On the way home I remember getting off at a depot to change trains.  There was an old fellow sleeping on the bench and he had the best snore and whistle I have ever heard.  I have tried to make a sound like that but could never do it that good.  Another time the train stopped at a station and two guys with their clothes half-torn off and very bloody were fighting each other. My mother tried to block my view but I managed to see it.  They were right outside the window with a crowd watching. 




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